Reclaiming your style – how to dress with confidence, post-cancer

Battling cancer is an experience none of us want to have to go through and even when you have rung that bell and you’re in remission, the battle doesn’t end. 

While those around you will be relieved and celebrating the fact that you are a survivor, they might not realise you will need time to come to terms with what you have been through.  It’s not something you can get over in a few weeks or months.

It may be that your body has changed, due to surgery, or medication that you will likely be on for some time, if not the rest of your life.  You might also have issues such as lymphedema or a stoma bag to cope with.  All of which can make you feel less feminine, and less attractive and can leave your self-confidence at an all-time low. 

In this blog, I will be offering you some practical advice on learning to accept the changes your body has gone through, adapting the way you dress in the short and long term, reclaiming your style, and ultimately regaining your self-confidence.

Embracing your new normal

Learning to accept the changes in your body will take time, especially if you have had surgery, such as a mastectomy, or have a stoma bag, for example.

Being able to look at yourself in a mirror without feeling angry, upset or sad will, at first, be difficult, but the more you get to know this new body, the sooner you will be able to accept and, in time, love it.

Be kind to yourself and try to replace any negative thoughts and words with more positive, and realistic ones.  Once you can start to do that, moving forward will start to feel easier.

Assess your current wardrobe

When you are ready, start going through your wardrobe and be honest about how your clothes make you feel.  Do you have lots of baggy, shapeless clothes that you find yourself hiding away in?

These clothes will perpetuate those negative feelings you are having about the way you look as they are not just covering the areas you want to disguise, but they will also be hiding your best features.

Start to weed out all those baggy clothes, as well as any that don’t fit, or don’t make you feel great when you put them on.

Maybe you have some clothes you love, but they need altering to fit you better.  Find a local seamstress or ask a friend with a flair for sewing to help you – they will love to know that they are being useful!

Dressing for comfort and functionality

Think about the issues you need to address with your clothing choices from now on.

If temperature fluctuation is an issue, wearing layers in natural fabrics will really help as they are breathable, but it also means that you can easily add or remove a layer when necessary.  Look for cotton, silk, wool, bamboo, linen, rayon, viscose, cashmere.

If dexterity problems are an issue right now, buttons, for example, can be tricky.  There are companies that provide magnetic and hook and loop fastening, to make life easier, such as: The Able Label

Lymphedema in the arms or legs can be very uncomfortable and leave you feeling disheartened, so choose loose-fitting clothing with a bit of stretch to provide more comfort, such as tops and shirts with wide sleeves or maxi skirts and wide-legged trousers. 

If you’re coping with a distended stomach and/or stoma bag, a supportive base layer, such as a comfortable vest or camisole, will help your confidence level.  Add a top that drapes over the tummy, without clinging or being too voluminous, for the perfect disguise.

Good underwear is important for all women, but after treatment or surgery, there are many specialist lingerie companies who provide suitable underwear, especially post breast surgery, such as:

Building a wardrobe that boosts your confidence

As well as all the practical issues, it’s important to bring some personality and colour into your wardrobe. 

Understanding how to wear colour that harmonises with your natural colouring, brightens your complexion and helps you to look healthier is an amazing mood enhancer.  One of my best-selling services is a colour analysis consultation, which is well worth the time and investment in yourself.

Choosing clothes and accessories that bring out your personality will also help you feel like you again, so doing some research on Instagram and Pinterest, as well as magazines, plus a bit of window shopping or online browsing, to find the styles that really speak to you.  Think about how you want to feel in your clothes, and what you want them to say about you.

There is so much more I could say, but I hope this has given you some guidelines to help you move forward, learn to love your body again and dress in a way that expresses who you are right now, ultimately regaining your self-confidence.

If you would like to know more about how I can help you, I would love to have a chat with you.  Why not book a FREE discovery call in my online diary, by clicking this link?

I look forward to helping you in your journey of renewal and self-expression.

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